Postcards from camp: Packers
On the sideline of a Packers training camp practice is an interesting place to be when all heck breaks loose on the
1. I know this is getting to be a recurring theme of my camp tour, but the Packers, like the Ravens and Vikings before them, aren't afraid to be talking Super Bowl in August. And to think I haven't even visited Cincinnati's camp, where those two words flow from the mouths of receivers
Packers head coach
"Every time we go to a team meeting room, they're talking up that trophy,'' Packers third-year tight end
I don't get the chills, but I do like the Packers chances in the NFC. At the moment, they're my favorite to win the conference, just as they were coming out of last year's preseason. They're not bullet-proof by any stretch. There are some holes in Green Bay's roster. But I see a team still on the ascent, and apparently the Packers do too.
2. I haven't done an exhaustive research project, but historically, the statistical standing of a
But the trend may hold again this year, if only because the Packers defense, after a rough first half of 2009, finished so high in the defensive rankings last year: No. 2 in overall defense and No. 1 against the run, after being 20th and 26th in those categories in 2008. There may be nowhere to go but down. Capers' defense led the NFL with 40 takeaways and 30 interceptions, scoring a league-high 141 points off takeaways (tied with the Super Bowl champion Saints), and cornerback
Maybe the stats aren't as glowing this year, but the Packers defense will still be formidable. The loss of valuable lane-clogging defensive lineman
But in a display of candor on Tuesday in the Packers' locker room, Finley told me there was a lot more he could have done last season. "It's about taking advantage of every play,'' he said. "Last year I took some plays off every once in a while. People on the outside probably couldn't tell, but for myself, I know I took some plays off that I could have taken advantage of. It's being young. But I've matured a lot over these months we've been off.''
I like the honesty. Look for Finley to take another sizable step in his development as one of the game's impact tight ends.
The Packers don't really do free agency, so the new face in this case belongs to first-round pick
Last year at this time Green Bay thought it had enough manpower at tackle to get the job done, but of course it didn't. Rodgers almost got killed in the season's first half, but things got markedly better up front when left tackle
That's a relatively low-pressure role that should afford him time to toughen up his body a bit and learn NFL blocking techniques, rather than see him thrown into the fire from the very start like higher drafted left offensive tackles such as
With veteran safety
McCarthy told me Burnett has been "clearly the most impressive rookie so far in the camp'' and that he's on track to line up against Cleveland in the team's preseason opener if he puts together another impressive week of practice. Burnett also had the advantage of working with the first-team defense in the team's offseason workouts after being drafted out of Georgia Tech, while Bigby didn't attend Green Bay's program at all because he was seeking a long-term contract and did not sign his one-year tender until last week.
Bigby's problem left ankle caused him to fail the Packers' physical at the start of camp, and it's an issue that he has battled on again and off again since the 2008 preseason. Bigby better not linger long on the sidelines, because the Packers are high on Burnett's potential and his starting candidacy is a train that leaves the station a little more each passing day.
In this category I'd have to go with the priceless look on Packers general manager
1. My sense is the Packers are still holding out hope that they'll have veteran cornerback
2. The Packers are loaded with quality inside linebackers, but they look a little thin at outside linebacker, especially with projected left side starter
3. To repeat myself from earlier this offseason, I think Packers quarterback Rodgers is in for another monster season. McCarthy agrees. "He's just so consistent,'' McCarthy said. "He's a talented and a tough guy, and he's always on an even keel. I think it's his time. We've got to keep him healthy, but this is his time.''
4. Fourth-year Packers defensive end
5. It has come to this in the internet age in which we live: Inside the Packers team auditorium inside Lambeau Field, where Green Bay holds most of its major press conferences, painted on the wall are the words "Notice: Room conversations may be carried live over the internet.''
In other words, be careful what you say. Anybody, even your mother, could catch you streaming live.